All but three counties in Alabama have been downgraded from Drought Emergency (No Burn) to Fire Alert. According to officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), recent rains and higher humidity have increased ground moisture levels in most of the state, reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfire. Those three southern counties remaining under a Drought Emergency (No Burn Order) are Baldwin, Mobile, and Monroe.
The Forestry Commission still urges anyone burning to follow safety recommendations such as not leaving a fire unattended until it is out, having the necessary equipment and personnel to control the fire, and having a garden hose or other water supply on hand for smaller debris burns. Any fire more than a quarter-acre in size or within 25 feet of a forested area requires a permit from the AFC. Burning without a permit is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $3,000 fine. Please note that the AFC will not issue burn permits for those 12 counties under the “ADEM” (Alabama Department of Environmental Management) summer burning restrictions. (For more information, see www.forestry.alabama.gov/FireWarningDesc.aspx.)
This Fire Alert will remain in effect until lifted by the State Forester, at which time conditions will have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires. The AFC will continue to monitor ground moisture levels throughout the state. If ground fuels become exceptionally dry again, it may be necessary to re-issue a No Burn Order in affected areas. For more information, contact any Alabama Forestry Commission county office or visit the AFC web page at www.forestry.alabama.gov. The Alabama Forestry Commission is a state agency committed to protecting Alabama citizens and the state’s invaluable forest assets.